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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsTOXICANT - rogue-lite survival horror [Steam Early Access]
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snugsound
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« Reply #300 on: March 23, 2020, 02:02:54 PM »

Something I worked on over the weekend: a proper model of the "quad support" structure that I use in many of the rooms, and am using as the foundation for the mineshaft-like structure that will appear in the intro/tutorial room.





You can also see (in the room on the left) some of the WIP texturing I've been doing--experimenting with much larger room textures in an effort to minimize visible tiling.
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« Reply #301 on: March 24, 2020, 09:53:11 AM »

I gotta ask... what's the rationale?

It's a few things--although I've been holding to it long enough that I may be forgetting some of my reasons, and others may have come in since I first made the decision:

For one thing, I don't like being tied into a client. I have little interest in the social aspects of one, so for me such a thing is pretty much just an imposition.

Another point is that I'm strongly anti-DRM, and while Steam doesn't enforce DRM on all games, it does offer its own, so I'm inclined to eschew Steam for that reason, too.

Speaking of DRM and the client, I don't like having to hope that if the service goes down or is closed someday, I'll still be able to play my games. I want to download an offline installer, be able to back it up, and install from that if I so desire. (Barring potential compatibility issues with later hardware and/or OSes, of course.)

And finally, I think that I do want to--at least for my part--undermine the near-monopoly a bit by giving my business to other stores.

Thus I stick to other portals: GOG primarily, itch somewhat, and Humble on rare occasions.

This was also the first time I successfully used "project from view" to unwrap a model.

I've found "project from view" to be quite handy for materials like wood; with a little adjustment afterwards, and the caveat that it likely won't work for all cases, it can produce some pretty decent effects, I think.

Something I worked on over the weekend: a proper model of the "quad support" structure that I use in many of the rooms, and am using as the foundation for the mineshaft-like structure that will appear in the intro/tutorial room.
...
You can also see (in the room on the left) some of the WIP texturing I've been doing--experimenting with much larger room textures in an effort to minimize visible tiling./quote]

That looks pretty good, I think! The less-tiled textures seem pretty good, as depicted in that image. ^_^
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« Reply #302 on: March 27, 2020, 07:41:14 AM »

It's a few things--although I've been holding to it long enough that I may be forgetting some of my reasons, and others may have come in since I first made the decision:

For one thing, I don't like being tied into a client. I have little interest in the social aspects of one, so for me such a thing is pretty much just an imposition.

Another point is that I'm strongly anti-DRM, and while Steam doesn't enforce DRM on all games, it does offer its own, so I'm inclined to eschew Steam for that reason, too.

Speaking of DRM and the client, I don't like having to hope that if the service goes down or is closed someday, I'll still be able to play my games. I want to download an offline installer, be able to back it up, and install from that if I so desire. (Barring potential compatibility issues with later hardware and/or OSes, of course.)

And finally, I think that I do want to--at least for my part--undermine the near-monopoly a bit by giving my business to other stores.

Thus I stick to other portals: GOG primarily, itch somewhat, and Humble on rare occasions.

That's fair. I'm kind of on the fence about DRM... I do tend to include it in my Steam builds just by default, but I've also put them all on Itch with DRM disabled. I would like to think that if Steam (or anyone with this kind of DRMonolopy) did something ridiculously stupid, like shutting down without deactivating DRM, the devs would step up. I know I would!

I will say that it's convenient having most of my games in one place, with a consistent way to launch them, initiate online matches with friends, etc. It's also been the place I've seen the most sales of my own games. Better the devil you know, maybe?

In any case, if you are opposed to using the Steam client or DRM build, say no more! You have been the biggest supporter of this project, I will happily find another way to get you a build!

I've found "project from view" to be quite handy for materials like wood; with a little adjustment afterwards, and the caveat that it likely won't work for all cases, it can produce some pretty decent effects, I think.

Yeah there's a touch of stretching on some of the angled portions, but I'm trying to not let that kind of stuff bother me because OCD and UV mapping don't seem to mix well Cheesy
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« Reply #303 on: March 27, 2020, 12:58:00 PM »

Just ahead of the video that I'm hoping to capture over the weekend, here's the layout of the tutorial scene that I've been working on for the past week or so (and the only handbuilt level in the game as of now).



Admittedly it's a fairly simple layout, but there's actually quite a bit going on, so I'll try to break it down.

Starting room
The player spawns here. For added suspense, it's pitch black (flashlight is off) and the stress level is maxed (heart beating, visual FX).

I wait about a second and then show the flashlight controls. To set the mood and tie back to the story, there's a seemingly endless mineshaft with a couple splatters of blood at the bottom. I debated having light at the very top, but it ended up feeling too close.

The door to the next area area boarded up, so the player has to scavenge for a plank (2x4) to smash. (In this instance, the controls are displayed via the discovery log, which the player is prompted to open after finding the plank)

There's also a journal entry on one of the walls. Just something a bit silly to introduce the concept of finding journals and letters.

Toxic hazard
This particular hazard (I call it "toxic falls") likely won't actually appear again until towards the end of the game, but it seemed like a really good way to introduce toxic damage since it's so overt (and looks/sounds cool--you'll see/hear). I took the opportunity to tidy it up into a proper prefab, as well as prepare some improved toxic decals. I use the hazard to introduce running and jumping via an on-screen prompt.

MonPro, rope
As you may recall, the MonPro is used for navigation (minimap). I've made a pickup version of it and require that the player collect it before exiting the level (see below). Again I prompt the player to open the discovery log for details, including controls.

Exit room
The exit room has the "exit fan" prefab which requires resetting a terminal to stop a fan in the ceiling before ascending with the rope. To force the player to collect the MonPro, it's now a required item to interact with the terminal. (This will only really apply to the first level, of course)

TBD
I'll likely have the beacon launcher in here, but this is really the last piece of the puzzle (see outstanding questions below).

Outstanding questions
Up until now all levels were based on the same scene file. Likewise, dying/restarting would just reload this same scene. As a result, the main assets were never unloaded, and there was almost no load time after the initial hit.

Because this is a new scene, it adds additional loading time between tutorial and main game levels, and vice versa. This raises a couple questions:
  • Should I start the player in the tutorial every time, or only the first?
  • If I don't, what about any transient items they find, like the plank? If I skip it for subsequent runs, they could be at a slight disadvantage. If I don't, they'll incur additional load times (unless I look at doing some async loading stuff, but that's a bit more heavy lifting than I had planned to do for this).

One thing is for sure: if I do force the player through the tutorial every time, the key items will persist; they'll just need to collect the rope and exit. The upside of doing this is that I can then perhaps have shortcuts or other special buffs that they can unlock and access in this initial area (a la Spelunky).

Regarding the beacon launcher: I still need to figure out a way for this to serve some purpose in the tutorial level, otherwise there's no real context. Its primary use is to mark the map, detect enemies, etc., but none of that applies to this first level. I'll have to give this some more thought.

And a final general thought: I'm throwing quite a bit at the player in a short amount of time. This is probably fine for the beta and initial early access, but in the final version I'm thinking I may make some items discoverable through subsequent playthroughs, like say the beacon launcher and the various beacon types (via "blueprints").

Thoughts/feedback welcome!
« Last Edit: March 27, 2020, 01:23:48 PM by snugsound » Logged

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« Reply #304 on: March 27, 2020, 02:02:13 PM »

Aaand here's the corresponding video for that:





Notes to self:
  • Fix the bug that annoyingly causes the player to "land" on start/unpause
  • Fix the blood decal at the bottom of the mineshaft (increase projection angle)
  • Update the plank's discovery log image
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« Reply #305 on: March 28, 2020, 04:16:14 AM »

Plus a few stills:






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« Reply #306 on: March 28, 2020, 10:41:04 AM »

That looks like a pretty good tutorial, I feel! ^_^

You are throwing a fair bit at the player in fairly short order--but there's also little pressure at this point, allowing the player to absorb elements at their own pace. And while there is a fair bit to learn, it nevertheless seems to me that there's not so much that it's likely to be a problem, given that lack of pressure.

Regarding the level-loading issue, could you perhaps find some excuse to deprive the player of that plank after the tutorial level? That would allow players to skip the tutorial without incurring a disadvantage.

I would like to think that if Steam (or anyone with this kind of DRMonolopy) did something ridiculously stupid, like shutting down without deactivating DRM, the devs would step up. I know I would!

It may well be that many would! But on the other hand, some may not--and some may not be in a position to do so, whether due to lost code, lack of access, legal issues, being outright dead, etc.

I will say that it's convenient having most of my games in one place, with a consistent way to launch them, initiate online matches with friends, etc.

I do recognise that convenience, indeed.

Ironically, I am somewhat similar on that first point--except that for me that "one place" is GOG.com.

As to consistent launching, perhaps because I have a history with disc-based games, that's never really bothered me. I store the installer as is convenient to me (I really want to get around to moving from CD to external hard-drive), and then copy and install them as desired. Less convenient than a single-client installation, but not so bad that I'd consider a client worth it to me.

It's also been the place I've seen the most sales of my own games. Better the devil you know, maybe?

That, to my mind, is an argument for buying elsewhere: the more who do so, the more likely others are to pick up the practice, and the more custom may go through other services.

It's also been the place I've seen the most
In any case, if you are opposed to using the Steam client or DRM build, say no more! You have been the biggest supporter of this project, I will happily find another way to get you a build!

Thank you! I really appreciate that! :D

You really don't have to--mine is only one more voice, after all! I won't say "no" if you do want to do so, but please don't feel any pressure for it. ^_^
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« Reply #307 on: April 07, 2020, 03:21:25 PM »

You really don't have to--mine is only one more voice, after all! I won't say "no" if you do want to do so, but please don't feel any pressure for it. ^_^

I want to do so! (and have done so!)

So the beta is underway, and so far the feedback is promising. One player is extremely engaged and sharing lots of feedback and suggestions, which is great!

While I wait for the results (if anyone is curious: here's the standard survey I'm sending out along with it), I'm starting to prep a roadmap for early access. To that end, here's the current view (which I'll be maintaining in the Steam discussion board):

  • Achievements (of course!)
  • More variation in level layouts and environments (including: larger/wide open spaces, more variety in room shapes, etc.)
  • Additional enemy types (in particular: more "creature"-esque enemies, like tentacles, large insects, etc.)
  • More environmental hazards, including more prominent underwater areas
  • More beacon types, and in general, more of a focus on the beacon launcher (less on combat)
  • A boss level of sorts, along with a proper ending (I'm actually contemplating multiple endings)
  • More reasons to explore, backtrack (more distinct secret areas, locked doors, etc.).
  • More significance for luck, and greater use of stats in general (including more stats-affecting items)

And a slightly more speculative/lower probability idea: secondary game modes, like dream sequences or mini-games (if I were to include guns, they would be in this mode)
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« Reply #308 on: April 07, 2020, 09:56:09 PM »

Thank you for sharing so much detail about your development process, it's been very useful for a newb like me to learn from. Thanks also for the survey layout; in 18 months when I'm nearer completion, I'll be looking at that.

Are secondary game modes simple to code in your game? Is it high reward for low effort?

Good luck with the remainder of your Beta!  Hand Metal Left
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« Reply #309 on: April 08, 2020, 05:04:13 AM »

Thank you for sharing so much detail about your development process, it's been very useful for a newb like me to learn from. Thanks also for the survey layout; in 18 months when I'm nearer completion, I'll be looking at that.

You're quite welcome, glad you found it helpful!

Are secondary game modes simple to code in your game? Is it high reward for low effort?

Probably more like medium effort/medium reward. There is a lot of potential for re-use (most of the procedural generation logic, for example), but any new content and mechanics would basically need to be done from scratch.

I think it could be a great addition, though. Where the entire game is currently set in the same environment, dream sequences would allow me to explore completely different environments without breaking continuity.

It would also give me an excuse to add some more action-heavy segments (perhaps optional). I'm pretty set on not having guns in the main game--not because I object, but just because "it's been done"--so by positioning it as a dream, I could pretty much get away with anything.

Good luck with the remainder of your Beta!  Hand Metal Left

Thanks, good luck with your game!
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« Reply #310 on: April 08, 2020, 09:42:10 AM »

I want to do so! (and have done so!)

Thank you very much! :D

So the beta is underway, and so far the feedback is promising. One player is extremely engaged and sharing lots of feedback and suggestions, which is great!

That's excellent news--both that you've had such positive feedback, and that you have so engaged and responsive a player. ^_^

  • Additional enemy types (in particular: more "creature"-esque enemies, like tentacles, large insects, etc.)

Aha! The Toxic-Ants at last! XP

  • More reasons to explore, backtrack (more distinct secret areas, locked doors, etc.).

This in particular I'm glad to read! ^_^ (I'm a big fan of exploration.)
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« Reply #311 on: April 12, 2020, 03:03:35 AM »

I prototyped a basic shotgun last night! It's actually the first time I've (fully) implemented a gun in 3D, and I had a blast doing it, heh. Because I had already implemented ragdolls, bleeding, and blood decals, the "feel" stuff came together fast. The main effort was integrating the model (it's from an asset pack), the muzzle flash, the anim and the (currently very crude) hitscan logic. It def needs some more "oomph" on the recoil--I'll probably need to animate the camera if I do end up keeping this--but I think it's a great start for just a few hours of effort.



As I've mentioned before, I don't really want guns in the main game flow, but I'd love to add this as a mini-game of sorts. I could picture a camping area with a sleeping bag that you can interact with to rest, and you'd basically dream up a scenario where you can go full bore. That said, because it feels so damn good already (way easier to get good "feel" with gunplay than melee, IMO), I would consider adding it to the main game as a late-sage, hard to find item, with very limited ammo. I welcome thoughts on this.

Separately, I also looked into what it would take to get IK for the player hands (currently, they're posed and animated very simplistically). It loos like Unity doesn't support this with it's built-in IK, as that's only for humanoid avatars, so I'd either need to look at something like Final IK, or Unity's Animation Jobs system, which has a "TwoBoneIK". Not something I plan on pursuing further at this time, but maybe revisiting in a few months as I think it could add a lot.
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« Reply #312 on: April 13, 2020, 09:17:56 AM »

That shotgun does look like a pretty cool addition, and I could see it being useful in some alternate game modes indeed! ^_^

As to the recoil, I think that you could perhaps convey a fair bit of that by animating the gun itself: a sharp jerk backwards, perhaps pulling up a bit, too, then settling back into its "ready" position.

As to its use in the main game, I think that it could fit well there: For one thing, as you say, ammunition could be limited. And for another, well, a shotgun is an awfully noisy weapon to fire when undue sounds could lead to drawing unwelcome attention. Between the two I could see some interesting decisions coming up regarding whether or not to use the gun in a given situation...
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« Reply #313 on: April 13, 2020, 09:51:52 AM »

That shotgun does look like a pretty cool addition, and I could see it being useful in some alternate game modes indeed! ^_^

Thanks!

As to the recoil, I think that you could perhaps convey a fair bit of that by animating the gun itself: a sharp jerk backwards, perhaps pulling up a bit, too, then settling back into its "ready" position.

Agreed. I checked some more refs since posting this and having the gun recoil back (vs up, as I've done--half-commitally) is quite common, but I'd def want to couple that with some camera anim for max impact.

As to its use in the main game, I think that it could fit well there: For one thing, as you say, ammunition could be limited. And for another, well, a shotgun is an awfully noisy weapon to fire when undue sounds could lead to drawing unwelcome attention. Between the two I could see some interesting decisions coming up regarding whether or not to use the gun in a given situation...

Yeah I'm thinking it would draw enemies from an even wider radius than anything else, so you'd have to be wary of firing with low ammo.
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« Reply #314 on: April 13, 2020, 12:09:53 PM »

But I think I'll park that for now and finally get around to adding proper breakable walls! Up until now the secret rooms were connected with blocked off tunnels. This didn't make them feel very "secret", as you can see right into them, and the rockpiles that block them can also be broken quite easily (including with the plank, a readily available item).

So to that end, I'm picturing solid walls with some subtle cracks and some light shining through. Perhaps so subtle that you could miss them if you're not paying attention?

I spent some time earlier today playing around with a quick concept in Blender:



That middle piece would probably have a few variations, i.e. subtle cracks -> major cracks -> pieces, and the wall itself would have pre and post broken states (the latter with the bevelled edges you see towards the end of the GIF, plus some additional wear)

Along the same lines, I'm envisioning rooms that need to be accessed from the floor above, like say, smashing a wall, entering a room, dropping down, and exiting through a one-way gate. It could also work the other way around: a shortcut to the next floor.
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« Reply #315 on: April 13, 2020, 03:28:16 PM »

A bit more progress on that (wait for it!)



I'm starting with bigger pieces for now just to see how it feels, and then I'll probably add do another round of bisecting which will serve as the second stage of cracks before ultimately breaking.

This is probably one of the few cases where I'll have debris collide with player--I'm thinking bigger pieces like this gives a greater sense of accomplishment, whereas with smaller debris I tend to disable due to issues with traversal.
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« Reply #316 on: April 14, 2020, 09:06:16 AM »

So to that end, I'm picturing solid walls with some subtle cracks and some light shining through. Perhaps so subtle that you could miss them if you're not paying attention?

I do like this idea: it rewards observation and, as you say, will likely cause the attached rooms to feel more "secret". ^_^

Along the same lines, I'm envisioning rooms that need to be accessed from the floor above, like say, smashing a wall, entering a room, dropping down, and exiting through a one-way gate. It could also work the other way around: a shortcut to the next floor.

As someone very fond of exploration, this I particularly like: finding alternate routes and unusual paths can be a lot of fun, I think. ^_^
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« Reply #317 on: April 16, 2020, 01:17:26 PM »

Smashy smashy!

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« Reply #318 on: April 17, 2020, 03:31:23 AM »

This is interesting since I make a survival horror roguelike too hahaha!
Want to exchange builds?  Smiley
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« Reply #319 on: April 17, 2020, 07:53:27 AM »

This is interesting since I make a survival horror roguelike too hahaha!
Want to exchange builds?  Smiley

Hey da_neel, I've actually checked out your game on the suggestion of one of my players Smiley I will send you a key for mine (by DM).
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